The Minsk Agreements on Ukraine have been prolonged for 2016, the State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti. “It is already clear that they have been prolonged. Nobody is limited by timeframes. For us, it is important to achieve the result – a peaceful settlement in southeastern Ukraine. Until such a settlement is reached, we will demand active steps from our Ukrainian partners and our partners from the ‘Normandy Quartet’: push somewhere, pressure somewhere, but the whole world, and especially Ukraine, are interested in peace and tranquility in the east of Ukraine,” Karasin said.
According to the political scientist and member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Veronica Krasheninnikova, the most urgent items of the Minsk Agreements have been settled. “Yes, some kind of truce has been achieved, yes, armaments have been removed from the line of contact, but why are the Minsk Agreements not being fully implemented? Perhaps the fact that the US and the NATO countries are supplying weapons to Ukraine, providing combat training to both the so-called ‘Azov’ battalions and others, and now to the armed forces, giving the Kiev authorities some sense of permission. That is why such provocations resumed, perhaps.”
Meanwhile, it is clear that an amnesty is necessary for the implementation of the agreements. “We met with representatives of various departments of the DPR and LPR and non-governmental organizations that defend the rights of prisoners, political prisoners. We also met with political prisoners. And, of course, those stories that were told to us in dry language were profoundly tragic. People who went through months of prisons, who do not even exist on paper in the SBU, the Ukrainian special services, of course, we can only imagine how it really was. Hundreds of such people are still in prisons. We asked a question of the organization the International Red Cross, which is present at each meeting in a very disciplined manner – what can they do in order to clarify the fate of those people? But the thing is that even the International Red Cross is practically unable to get into these places, because they do not exist on paper. So the fate of many hundreds of people still remains unclear, and a huge amount of work awaits us, of course.”